Pamela Ebstyne King, PhD
the Peter L. Benson Chair of Applied Developmental Science
May 5, 2016
Installation Address: “An Invitation to Thrive”
- recalled Peter Benson’s tremendous impact—providing a hopeful vision for all young people. He might have encouraged kids to find their spark and adults around them to ignite it—but Peter himself was “a walking blowtorch!”;
- quoted her own high school graduation speech from 1986 on spiritual life purposes: King feared she hadn’t had a new thought in 30 years, and was grateful for the reframe by her post-doc mentor, Bill Damon, who said, “we call that identity coherence”;
- reflected on thriving as an invitation and response, a dynamic interaction between Creator and created;
- pointed out that thriving is not a destination, but it does have a direction, a goal, a telos: God’s purposes for humanity.
Her address fleshed out this invitation to thrive by explaining how she understands this goal for humankind in 3 ways:
- Conformity to likeness of the image of God in Christ.
- Uniqueness: conformity to Christ does not mean uniformity: “An element of our telos is to be and become more fully the unique person that God created us to be.”
- Relatedness: “God created us to be in relationship—with God, humankind, and his creation. . . . As I have been known to say, he created us to become reciprocating selves, . . . fully formed or forming individuals in full relationship with God, humans, and creation.”